XTC were one of Britain’s defining pop groups, rising to prominence in the late ’70s and ’80s with their New Wave and post-punk-tinged pop songs. While they’re perhaps best known for 1979’s Drums and Wires, Paste opted for their 1986 LP, Skylarking, instead, placing it at number 25 on our list of the 50 Best Post-Punk Albums of All-Time. Paste contributor Jessica Gentile wrote of the album, “XTC succeeded in creating an album that sounds squarely out of time. Lush and pastoral, it’s a fully realized psych-pop masterpiece, an oddity among an era of all things synths and synthetics.”
By early 1980, the band had released three studio albums, most recently 1979’s Drums and Wires. The album spawned one of their best known tracks, “Making Plans for Nigel,” which was influenced by Devo’s rendition of The Stones’ ”(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” On this day in 1980, XTC played in Boston’s Paradise Rock Club, following their very first U.S. live stint in 1979. The band performed a selection of tracks from their first three albums—White Music, Go 2 and Drums and Wires. This particular live recording is an incredible document of the band’s early career as frontman Andy Partridge excitedly prefaces their performance of “Ten Feet Tall,” with “This next song will be a single in America, our first single!”
Back in 2006, Partridge spoke with Paste about the day John Lennon died, XTC’s early influences and quitting touring. Revisit the interview here.
Listen to XTC’s full live performance from this day in 1980 below.